Be Prepared and Stay Dry During the Rainy Season
In Japan, the weather can be variable in spring and summer. After the beautiful spring weather in March and April, you will start to notice the change from spring to summer. Rain and humidity begin to settle in parts of Japan as early as May. Then, suddenly, a sea of umbrellas can be seen as we enter the rainy season.
Some Key Words to Know About the Weather:
Japanese: English meaning
Mushi-mushi: humid (not to be mistaken with “moshi-moshi” (which means “hello” on the telephone))
Tsuyu: (梅雨). rainy season (early May to late July)
|Rainy Season by Region|
|Okinawa||Early May||Late June|
|Kyushu||Late May||Mid July|
|Shikoku||Early June||Mid July|
|Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe||Early June||Mid July|
|Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba||Early June||Late July|
|Tohoku||Mid June||End of July|
|Hokkaido||no rainy season|
What do I need to know before the rainy season?
Basic “Must Have” Items
Surviving the rainy season means you need to be prepared. Some essential items you need are as follows:
- a pair of rain shoes/boots (or a few! – Shoes tend to take a while to dry out, so you might need a couple of different pairs)
- a good waterproof jacket (or a couple depending on the temperature outside)
- an umbrella (or a few in case they get lost!)
- a poncho (optional, but handy if you ride a bicycle or motorcycle)
- household dehumidifying packets
- maybe some of the latest dehumidifying gadgets
As you make your way through the rainy season, you will see yourself living amongst the land of umbrellas everywhere you go. Umbrellas are sold everywhere. Because of their use, there are always new umbrellas on the market. Of course, you can find umbrellas of all shapes, sizes and colors. The good thing is that umbrellas tend to be rather inexpensive due to the vast amount of them sold. Whatever you choose, you should know that it rains a lot during the rainy season. So, you should buy one (or more than one) that will work for your budget but will ultimately keep you dry.
The picture below shows a typical umbrella option that you can buy in Japan.
It’s best to keep in mind that Japanese people tend to carry an umbrella with them if the weather forecast shows even the smallest chance of rain. In other countries people tend to only use umbrellas during heavy rain. However, in Japan, it’s common to see umbrellas even in light rain. During the rainy season, it can rain intermittently or constantly all day long.
Japanese people also have an amazing ability to ride a bicycle and hold their belongings and umbrella at the same time. So, don’t be surprised to see them maneuvering quickly through the streets just like they do on a sunny day.
“Kasapon” is the term for an umbrella cover in Japan. Regardless of where you need to stop for shopping, you will find umbrella covers or an umbrella holder outside the front of the store or right inside the main lobby area of larger department stores. In Japan, umbrellas are covered so they don’t drip water all over the store. This is to keep the store employees from the responsibility of cleaning the floors throughout the day.
Cover dispensers like the one below are used in many places. If it is a smaller store, they may only provide bag covers you slip on, or umbrella holders outside.
Please don’t worry about your umbrella being stolen. Japan is a safe country. Customers place their umbrellas in the holder, generally without issue. You just pick your umbrella up on the way out.
Japan has an array of cool and inventive products to help you out during the rainy season. From umbrellas that are upside down to holders that will hold your umbrella on a table (i.e. restaurants), you can find numerous and practical things to purchase. Check out the latest trends for 2018!
Shopping bag covers
In Japan, department stores or larger supermarkets will offer you a plastic cover for your shopping bag. This complimentary Japanese service will protect your purchased items from getting wet or damaged by the rain.
If you use a handbag/purse and don’t want it to get wet or damaged, you can find several companies that sell a water repellant handbag cover. It will keep your expensive leather or other material type bags protected. One example is provided below:
If you use a bicycle in Japan as a method of transportation, it can be helpful to have a bicycle cover when it rains. You can cover up your bicycle while you are in a store, parked at a train station, etc. You can find many options in Japan since bicycles are a common household item. You will be able to find options to cover a child seat if necessary as well. So, check out the options in the stores or online.
Amazon.co.jp is one site that might be helpful if you choose an online shopping option.
Backpacks tend to still get wet as they stick out from the umbrella. In Japan, a simple solution is a backpack cover like the one shown below. It is something to consider purchasing if you use backpacks on a frequent basis. There is a wide selection to choose from. Pick one that will fit your needs and budget.
Note: You might not need it but it will save you time and money if you use a backpack on a daily basis. Getting your backpack or the items in it wet and/or ruined will NOT make your day.
Household Items that Help During the Rainy Season
Now that you know what you personally need, the rainy season is a tough time on your home too. Mold and humidity are often problems you need to deal with during this time of year. The following are some ideas to help you get through the rainy season at home:
- Vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or bleach to clean the mold in your home (bathrooms, kitchen, etc.)
- A good fan, dehumidifier, or AC on the “dry” mode which keeps the air circulating. It helps with fewer mold issues.
- Open your windows when it is not raining to circulate the air.
- Use dry racks to hang clothes inside your home since it is raining or humid outside. Note: It will take more time to dry your clothes, towels, etc. due to the rain and humidity, so be prepared to wear other clothes or take them to a dry cleaner.
- Charcoal bricks to help dehumidify the air. These are good for rooms and closets.
- Dehumidifier packets that can be found any drug store. They are sold in packets and to be hung in the closet. They will definitely help keep your closets, drawers and linens/bedding areas from growing mold and allowing your clothes or personal items to remain fresh.
With all these tips, you will no doubt breeze through the rainy season in Japan this year. Don’t let these upcoming few months stop you from enjoying all that Japan has to offer. Get out, explore and “play in the rain.” Have a great day! Until next time, happy reading!
Peggy / United States